tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 13, 2014 7:00am-8:01am EST
stop at the 7-eleven or place to get a little gas and mention the name ralph hall, people's faces light up. i bet everybody in rock wall county has met ralph hall in fact, probably everybody in ralph's district has met ralph. because one of the things he was diligent about doing was making sure people in his district felt represented. since his election, he's worked tirelessly here in congress on a number of issues and i had the honor and privilege to serve on the house science, space, and technology committee with ralph, and one of the things i appreciated most about ralph, and i think most of us appreciated is ralph's sense of humor. that didn't stop him from asking very direct and grilling questions of witnesses that would come before our committee. sometimes there would be a tense moment. but ralph always had something funny or a story to tell that broke the ice. you've seen a number of members of the texas delegation here
today, particularly the republican delegation and every thursday, we have lunch together. talk about what's good for texas. but what was always a thing that we always looked forward to, we couldn't wait until ralph got there so that we could -- ralph could share a funny story. and you know, one of the things that i'll miss most about ralph is those times when he'd be on the floor or he would be at lunch, sharing those stories. now one of the things about ralph is that as he got older, he got wiser. and in fact he, got so wise, in 2004, he realized he needed to be a part of the republican party and so he switched from the democratic party to the republican party. we were so glad to welcome him to that. so as i said, it's been an honor and a privilege, ralph, to be part of your team on the science, space and technology committee. it's been a great honor to be one of your colleagues, but more importantly, ralph, we want to
thank you for your friendship and kinship and most importantly your service to this great nation and to the state of texas. so with that, we say, ralph, job well done, god bless you and we ook forward to seing you soon. mr. barton: i thank the gentleman from lubbock. i now recognize the congressman from the 25th district of texas, mr. roger williams. under the newest configuration, he's the only congressman represent that district. they must love him. mr. williams: i'm honored to stand here today and say a few words about our most treasured friend, mentor, and leader, ralph hall. his service to country and his fellow man are full of victories as we have heard and hailts -- highlight taos numerous to count. he flew planes in world war ii. once the next congress convenes,
we'll misthe only two remaining world war ii veterans in congress, also including congressman dingell. ralph hall has an appreciation for america that few of us can understand. he understands sacrifice. he understands service. he understands putting one's self aside for the greater good. he's always been an accomplished businessman, having served in a number of executive roles in the private sector. he brought his business savvy to congress, which contributed to him being one of the most respected and well-liked members we've had. his ability to bring humor was not just to get a laugh but bringing different viewpoints together ralph has served north texas well and deserves recognition for his accomplishments. i am grateful to have served with my friend and patriot whose leadership, spirit, and statesmanship will be greatly
missed. i wish him the best as he continues to serve texas, america, and his community back home. i will always pray for ralph and his family. i yield back. mr. barton: thank you, congressman. we would now like to recognize the congressman from the firth congressional district, deep east texas, soft spoken congressman louie gohmert. mr. gohmert spst it is an honor to be here honoring ralph hall. he has been my congressman for many years and in fact after being on the bench for -- mr. gome effort:. -- mr. gohmert: it is an honor to be here honoring ralph hall. he has been my congressman for many years. and in fact after being on the bench, i thought i should legislate, wouldn't do it from the bench. i talked to him and told him as
long as he was my congressman i had no need to run because he would represent me well. then we had redistricting in 2003 and it opened up a different district. but i felt that way then. if he had stayed my congressman, i'd never had a need to run, so some may wish we didn't have redistricting. as i hear people talk about his age, i think about ralph saying that when he turned 90, somebody on his staff said, congressman hall, would you rather we didn't mention to people that you're 90? and he said, no, i'm fine with that. i'd a lot rather you say, he's 90, than doesn't he look natural? and having been with ralph yesterday, there in rockwall, as he's going through rehab, actually he, doesn't look natural at all he looks great. and just look forward to the days when he's fully out of the wheelchair and that rod in his leg is not bothering him as much as it is now.
we miss him very much. and he did provide me a quote too, that struck him, having been chairman of the science committee. he said, and this is a quote ralph sent, we are reminded of the responsibility given to us by the scripture engraved on the hearing room wall of the science committee from proverbs 29:18, where there is no vision, the people perish. ralph's eyesight was 20/20. he could see where we've been. he could see where we were going. and it was an honor and pleasure and real privilege to serve with my friend ralph hall. i yield back. mr. barton: i thank congressman gohmert. i'd now like to recognize the gentlelady who represents part of dallas county, the honorable eddie bernice johnson who comes
from the same hometown i do, waco, texas. ms. johnson: thank you very much. i'm delighted to join you in saying some words about ralph hall, my friend. it has been my honor and privilege to serve with my colleague and friend and we had some laughs just recently when i visited him about our history nd working together in elected office. our relationship goes back to when i was in the texas house and i left the texas house in the 1970's. talking about things that we remember. i really regret that he's not here today, but he wanted to be and he planned to be, but he's not going to make it today. but as all of you who have had the pleasure of serving with ralph, we are missing out -- as all of you have had the pleasure of serving with ralph, we are missing out on stories and jokes, some of them really funny and some can't be said in some
places. so i won't try to match him in story telling but i'm going to tell you a little story that happened when ralph switched parties. called him and called him and called him and called him, and i couldn't get through, nor did he return my calls, until i finally said, well just tell him i still love him, i don't care what party he's in. so 30 seconds later, he returned my call. and he said, i just couldn't take another bawling out from a woman. he said, i've gotten it from my sister, i've gotten it from my wife. i said, but you know what, probably no one understands more than i do, because i've been watching your numbers. it never interfered with our relationship. when he was chair of the science, space, and technology committee, two of the years he was chair, i was ranking member.
he never hesitated to reach across the aisle to try to reach consensus. and really, the kind of spirit we need now, and i will miss him for that. i will miss him because of the history we both shared. our districts used to come right next to each other, now there are a couple that come between us, but it won't divide our friendship and i look forward to our continued friendship for many years to come. i have learned so much from him. i remember when i first came, he was the person who taught me how to make arrangements to go home every week with the airline that we use and also taught me how to find rooms -- how to find routes and shortcuts how to get where you're going on this hill, which is complicated when you first get here. he will be missed. the space exploration program will be forever grateful to him. the science committee research
and all of its -- and all it stands for will always have a part of his history -- a part of its history, ralph hall. i appreciate the opportunity to have had a chance to work with him, to know him and his family, and to wish him well. thank you. mr. barton: we now want to recognize the congressman from fort bend county, sugarland, texas, a navy pilot himself, as ralph hall was in world war ii, he honorable pete olson.
fate touched ralph in many ways. ralph as a young man in rockwall, texas, pumping gas as a teenager, guess who drove up and bought gas from my friend, ralph hall? bonnie and clyde. the gangsters. yes, sir, i yield my friend. mr. barton: i have repeatedly asked him to prove that and he has absolutely failed system of that is an urban myth of the fourth congressional district. mr. olson: reclaiming time, my
didn't aid, we saw him, know who they were, he got a quarter, a huge tip. the paper was there right beside the door he, saw this man and this woman, he pumped gas for hose two felons. he told his boss and they called the sheriff, the sheriff said, thank you so much for calling, i've got a call about two stray dogs, once i catch those dogs, i'll go after bonnie and clyde. fate and ralph hall. ut fate didn't stop there. as was mentioned, ralph was a naval aviator, a pilot, in world war ii.
he did flight training in pensacola, florida. he was there with the marines. a guy named ted williams. batted .403 in 1941. mr. barton: would the gentleman yield on that point? while the bonnie and clyde story is more fiction than fact, ralph would have had -- ralph would have been pumping gas at the ripe old age of 8 or 9 years old for that to be true, the ted williams story is fact and it is true. mr. olson: i thank my friend. the point is, ralph nose ted is there. baseball game against army. i'll take all their paychecks. i got ted williams. then david comes, knocks on ted's door. he had some fishing gear.
let's go fishing. ralph tried to stop him. ted, ted, i've told my wife i'm coming home with a big paycheck. i bet my whole paycheck on this game. ralph held the fence up so ted williams could go awol. maybe he lost the game and ralph had a rough night at home with mary ellen. fate touched ralph hall one more time. as a chairman of the nasa committee here in congress, ralph hall and his friends were great americans. this picture shows the greatest. a man right there named neil armstrong. the first american to walk on
the moon. colonel tom stafford, another apollo restaurant. right by the microphone there, captain gene. went to the moon twice on apollo -- apollo 10 and apollo 17. fate touched ralph hall's life. fate touched our lives by giving ralph hall to us. he is america's best. he's texas' best. ralph, we love you. god bless you. fair winds and following seas. mr. barton: i thank the gentleman from sugar land. , mr. ecognize mr. green green. mr. green: thank you, mr. speaker.
i'm not so sure about a noted texas landmark but i want to thank you for asking and scheduling this special order for our good friend, ralph hall. i rise to pay tribute to a great american who dedicated his life to protecting and serving our nation in the great state of texas, representative ralph hall, a true gentleman. ralph began his commitment to service second decades ago when he joined the united states navy. served as an aircraft carrier pilot in world war ii, returning to texas after the war, ralph became -- began private law practice in rockwall, texas, are we served as county judge in the 1950's and represented that area in the texas state senator -- texas state senate from 1962 to 1972. that's when i first met ralph hall, because in 1970 he ran for lieutenant governor in texas, in the democratic primary. and there were few other folks in that race. ralph didn't make it out of the -- into the runoff.
but ralph was elected to congress in 1980 as a conservative democrat, where he served our state honorably on energy and commerce committee and the science committee where he was chairman from 2011 to 2013. in 2003, ralph became a republican. his votes were always conservative, though. my job in the 1990's as a deputy whip on the democratic side was the whip texas members. so i'd go to ralph and he was a distinguished gentleman and that's just not a title, he really was. he would tell me, he said, what do you want me to do? i said, well, i want to you vote this way. he said, you know, i can't really do that. i said, well, can you vote late? ralph was always a conservative, no matter what democratic or republican label he had. i had the honor of serving with ralph in congress since 1993 and on the energy and commerce committee since 1997 and ralph has always been a true
gentleman to me and to all i've ever saw him work with. i will best remember ralph as a true hero of texas who is a committed public servant, either in uniform or elected official, and always stayed true to his beliefs and did everything he could for his constituents. mr. speaker, congressman hall will be sorely missed by all of us and i want to thank him for both his hard work and dedication for years, but more importantly for his friendship to a lot of members, not just texans, but a lot of members in congress. and ralph will be very fondly remembered. i thank my colleague for yielding to me. mr. barton: now i want to recognize the distinguished congressman from i believe flower mound, texas, in denton county, the honorable michael bureau jells. mr. burgess: thank you, chairman. thank you for calling this hour together. of course the ranks of those who are able to capably deliver a narrative in this house
suddenly have gotten a little thinner. i had the opportunity to sit down and visit with mr. hall just a few days before thanksgiving. i know how intense was his desire to be here and be able to talk on the floor today on his own behalf. sadly that didn't come to pass. i hope you're able to watch today. i hope you're able to hear the accolades of all of your colleagues. we miss you, ralph. we wish you nothing but the best going forward. again, the ranks of the capable narrative deliverer here in the house of representatives has gotten a little thinner at the end of this term. chairman, thank you for the recognition. i'll yield back. mr. barton: thank you. now we want to recognize congressman from corpus hristi, texas, mr. farenthold. mr. farenthold: thank you, chairman barton. it's great to be here to talk a moment or two about my good friend, ralph hall. when i was first elected to
congress a few years back, ralph was one of the first people that i met being a texan and he has the kindest heart and always has a smile on his face and a good joke ready at hand. people ask me, what do you see your career as congress, who do you look up to, where do you see your career in congress going think? said, i might want to grow uper to ralph hall. then -- grow up to be ralph hall. then some of his adversaries said he was too old to be in congress and ralph jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. i had to rethink of growing up to be ralph hall after he jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. but it's a testament to the dedication and courage he has. ralph was committed to serving texas and the folks that he represented and he would go to any length, including jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, to continue to serve. it was an honor and a privilege to have spent four years of my
life as a colleague of ralph's. it's been the greatest four years of my life and it's an honor and privilege to have served with him and he truly will be missed. and i appreciate the opportunity, chairman barton, to be on the floor today to acknowledge my friend and quite frankly one of my strongest mentors here in congress, ralph hall. god bless you, ralph. we're going to miss you. mr. barton: thank you. now i recognize the gentleman from the 14th district of illinois, congressman hultgren. mr. hultgren: chairman, thank you so much. it is such a privilege to be able to say a few words for my good friend and my chairman, chairman of the science committee when i first was elected to congress four years ago, had the privilege of serving under chairman hall on the science committee. a couple memories that i have. so many committees that i went to where the committee would
stop because we were laughing so hard with a statement or comment or joke perfectly timed that chairman hall would put in and so enjoyed that time so much. my wife and i had an incredible privilege this summer. we have among ourselves here in congress some wonderful people we get to serve with. a few of them truly are heroes. and one of those heroes is ralph hall. had the privilege of going to the 70th anniversary of d-day to recognize those world war ii veterans and ralph hall was with us on that trip. we all loved being there, but everybody wanted to be with ralph hall. again, a true hero. and to be in that place with ralph hall was a great, great honor for my wife and i. my greatest memory since i've been here, over the four years, was with chairman hall. and that was in the science committee and having the privilege of sitting about 10
feet away from armstrong and the first man to walk on the moon and the last man to walk on the moon. people who changed the trajectory of this nation and this world. and having the opportunity to talk with them and get to know them and to hear their amazing story, but also the humility that they had, that same humility that chairman hall has, just a privilege to serve. and, ralph, we love you. i wish so much that you could be here today to be able to express your own heart for the privilege i know that you felt serving in this incredible place, serving the wonderful constituents you have in texas. but i want you to know that we love you, we miss you, we're praying for you and we're excited to see, hopefully soon, a full recovery for you and looking forward to having you back here and hearing those great jokes once again. so, ralph, want to let you know that we're pulling for you and excited again for all that you've done and all that you're going to do. with that i yield back to the chairman. mr. barton: thank you.
wield now like to yield to the gentlelady from houston, texas, congresswoman sheila jackson lee. ms. jackson lee: thank you very much. i thank the chairman for yielding. and i thank him for holding this special order for a very dear friend to all of us, ralph hall. i guess my opening remarks would be that if you took the greater percentage of all of us members of the house of representatives, everyone would rise up and say, my good friend ralph hall and really mean it. for he was a good friend and is a good friend to all of us, on both sides of the aisle. i came to the united states congress, i went to the science committee and there was ralph hall. fighting for the issues that were not only impacting the nation but were impacting our great state. no one could doubt that ralph hall was a champion for texas, a champion for the space exploration program. i used to love getting with him
on the floor of the house and strategizing how we could continue to make sure that our space exploration continues and the great research that is done in nasa goes on. certainly as a member of the energy and commerce committee, he was astutely concerned about the issues of energy, but also health care and many others. he loved his family and he forever reminded me of a time when he came to houston and he had to see his grandson whoist now grown and -- who is now grown and i'm sure one of ralph's favorite grandsons, if you will. he loves his family. when he had to get a ride to the hospital where his grandson was. and of course we're so grateful that he recovered. but he always tells everyone that i went 30 miles out of my way to take him to that hospital and i can say to you, i did it with joy. but he was always grateful and thankful for friendship and kindness and he was kind. and i must say that if he
didn't have a career in the united states congress, he could be a stand-up comic. because his timing was everything, his jokes were unique. i don't think they were written anywhere. and of course he was always saying them. let me also say, since he's had such a long history, he reminded me of his friendship with the honorable barbara jordan and his friendship with mickey leland, two of the predecessors of my particular district. and then i would offer to say the same remarks that were mentioned just earlier about how excited -- exciting it was to be in normandy for the 70th commemoration and have our own special iconic hero, ralph hall, who was honored by the french and honored by many. he was a regular hero and a dynamic hero, as we went about the town. so my hat is off to ralph. i know that he will be well. i know that he knows that we love him. but more importantly, let me
salute him as a great american who has served his nation with dignity and honor and respect and integrity and who walks the pathway of a congressional person that respects the dignity and integrity of this house and as well the friendship of democrats and republicans, because he calls everyone an american. i yield back. mr. barton: thank you. i thank the gentlelady. now i want to recognize the congressman from the 14th istrict in texas, randy weber. mr. webster: i thank the gentleman, -- mr. weber: i thank the gentleman, mr. speaker. you may have heard about the revered halls of congress but let me say there's no more revered hall of congress than that of ralph hall. you know, let me tell you why that is. ralph hall was a true texan and a great american. he's a great example to us all. as a true texas gentleman, time
and time again i've seen him demonstrate the art of tact and he once described that art of tact as making someone feel at home when you wish they were. as a true texas gentleman he, could do that. as a true texas gentleman, i saw him time and time again use the art of diplomacy he explained to me he, said, randy, diplomacy is being able to tell someone to go to hades and make them happy to be on their way. ralph had that gift. ralph hall, and i'm going to list some descriptions of him, alphabetically. he was american, through and through. he was charming. he could turn that charm on. he was committed. he was serious about what he did. elegant. he was a picture of elegance. you could see the way he moved and the way he worked. funny. gosh, he was so funny. the fact is, i think he was cut
out to be a comedian but he was probably sewn together wrong. he was funny at times. gracious. a true texas gentleman. a mentor to us. could be stern when necessary. strong. did i mention texas through and through? witty. in short, ralph was a great example, mr. chairman, mr. speaker, i end with this acronym. en i think of ralph, r-a-l-p-h, i think of ralph. he was real, he was republican. r and then a, he was american. i think of l, he was a leader. then i think of p, ralph was principled. and then i think of h. he was a hero. he is a hero. and i'll end with this. his last name, hall, h stands for hero. a stands for american, and l --
both the l's stand for the lasting legacy he's going to leave here in the halls of congress. when it comes to the halls of congress there is none better than ralph hall. ralph, we love you, we bid you a great american -- we bid you a great american and great texan farewell but only temporarily. don't be a stranger. mr. speaker, i yield back. mr. barton: i thank the gentleman. we now want to recognize from california's 48th district in orange county, the honorable dana rohrabacher. mr. rohrabacher: i have served in the house of representatives now for 26 years and i have met good people and bad people and i met people i agree with and who i like, and people i disagree with and i like. and we are reflective of the american people. people ask me, what do you think
about the united states congress? i always say, i reflects what the american people are all about. this is the house of representatives, where we represent all of these parts of our country. well, ralph hall was one of those representatives who represented the goodness in america and the greatness in america. ralph hall was, first and foremost, i believe, an american was a patriot and put that above every other one of his considerations. i was proud to know ralph, and he is still with us, we shouldn't think of him being gone from the earth, he's still here and i hope he's listening right now, because we wish him all the best. ralph hall is a great american still and he has left his legacy here behind. i worked with ralph on the
science and space -- space, science, and technology as they call it. and ralph has made enormous contributions to the well being of our country in terms of both on two areas in particular, we know of, i worked with ralph, number one he, did more to help direct america's space program and keep it a viable effort on the part of the united states to utilize space for the benefit of human kind and of course for the purpose of the united states to become a dominant power in the next frontier. ralph, his leadership was indispensable to creating the potential that we have today of accomplishing great things in space and the things that we have already accomplished, ralph was right in the middle of it, making sure that that job got
done. he was also very involved with energy development. i know that there's a little bit of confusion, just because someone is from texas that they're going to be backing up the oil companies and things such as that. ralph was a guy who, yeah, he believed in the oil industry. he was grateful to the oil industry for the good things it has provided us, the fact that energy and production of energy is so important to our national well being. but he was also a man who understood that science was going to develop new methods of energy and was always pushing our committee and the science committee to be on the cutting edge of research and development and you know, when you get people here, running for congress they run for congress because they have strong ideas and ideals, often which they don't agree with one another. you can imagine trying to get legislation through committees and through -- on the floor of
the house, etc., when you have people who are having to interact but have different points of view. well, tensions at that moment can be a blockage to making things better. and ralph, if anything else, was he guy who was able to take -- eliminate the tension in the air that was getting in the way of getting something done because he had the best sense of humor of any other member i have ever, ever come across. ralph, by doing that, kept this body a product i body and weren't at each other's throats and one last note. my father was a pilot during world war ii. and he flew in the pacific. i have a very special place in my heart for ralph hall and all those guys because ralph hall too was a pilot in world war ii in the pacific. he's the godfather to us all. ralph, we respect you, we honor
-- honor you, we love you, we are grate to feel you for what you meant to our lives and what you've done to help make our country better off. thank you and god bless. mr. barton: thank you congressman. i now want to recognize from the fifth district of dallas, texas, committee, of the mr. jeb hensarling. mr.sen sar ling: i -- mr. hensarling: i rise to honor this great patriot from texas, mr. ralph hall. i feel most inadequate to the task. there are a number of members who come to the house floor and some provide humor. few have provided more humor than ralph hall at times when this body critically needs it. some members come to this body and they become more respected. certainly that is ralph hall.
some are well liked. that is also ralph hall. some distinguish themselves for their accomplishments. and ralph hall will take second place to no one on what he's been able to accomplish in his house career. and then there's a handful, mr. speaker, of true american heroes. ralph hall served our nation with courage and distinction in world war ii. and my point, mr. speaker, is that i'm not sure i know of any member who combines them all, respectability, likeability, humor, effectiveness, and being true american hero. we will miss ralph hall, we will miss his wit. but you know, mr. speaker, even many so, i think i will miss -- even more so, i think i will miss his wisdom.
there are times we debate issues, either among the texas delegation or the house as a whole, and occasionally the voices get a littled how, the debate gets confused and almost out of nowhere, ralph hall comes in and imparts his wisdom and it is like a ray of sunshine piercing the darkness and i'll say, yes, that makes sense. and we come together as members of congress for the good of america. and i heard the previous speaker about it, there's so much we could say about ralph and his accomplishments, but how ironic in some respects that the oldest member of the house was so much on the cutting edge of science and technology and has helped this institution lead america into this century. when ralph hall has spoken, when he has led so many have
followed. so there are many reasons that it is a privilege to serve in the united states house of representatives but one of the great privileges is the people that you meet. there have been none nicer, none wiser, and more accomplished than ralph hall. mr. speaker, i will miss, texas will miss, america will miss ralph hall when he leave this is body. i yield back. mr. barton: i thank the gentleman. now i recognized from round rock, texas, the distinguished ohn carter, for two minutes. mr. carter: i thank the gentleman for yielding and i rise today to speak about my friend, ralph hall. an amazing man. he's been just about anything adventuresome you could think about in your life. s the man that tells us he was a
little boy when bonnie and clyde went through. -- this is the man that tells us he was a little boy when bonnie and clyde went through. truth. he's telling the and he was a fight reporter, and i newsom people turned down a ung man named cassius clay because they thought he had a glass jaw. he once ran for attorney general d he said he looked in the mirror, thought he saw the attorney general and it turned out it was oodooth guy he was seeing in the mirror. he has served in this house as both a democrat and a republican and is loved by both parties, is respected by both parties. and he had an amazing talent for carrying humor around as a tool of friendship. i just wanted to share one small
thing that was just -- it livened up a crowd like i've never seen before. we were at the laying of the keel of the aircraft carrier george herbert walker bush. there was about 50 or so people sitting in chairs in the hot sun. and they put a bottle of water under each chair. i was sitting next to ralph on the front row and he looked down there underneath his chair and saw that bottle of water and all these people were sweltering behind us, waiting for the thing to start and he reached down, picked up the bottle of water he, got up, turned around to the crowd behind him and said, somebody noise put a bottle of water beneath the chair. who got the scotch. and the crowd started laughing and everybody relaxed and the ceremony began. ralph made friends like nobody else. he is my friend. think everybody in this house
considers him a friend. he's a great american, a great texan and i'm going to miss him dearly. i yield back. mr. barton: i thank the gentleman. may i inquire how much time we have remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has eight minutes remaining. mr. barton: eight minutes. i want to yield myself se balance of the time. -- yield myself the balance of the time. we have had a number of congressmen come on the house floor and tell anecdotes about ralph and how funny he was and how smart he was and they're all, at least the ones about how smart he was, very true. we've heard the urban myth about waiting on bonnie and clyde which i do not believe is true. we've heard about ted williams and ralph and ted playing on the same baseball team in world war ii. that is true. we've heard about the offer to serve as fight promoter for cassius clay who later became
muhammad ali, and that's true. a few more you may not know. he was good friends with the hunt brothers in dallas and clint murchison, the original owner of the dallas cowboys. at one time he was asked to be yen counsel for what we call the nfl today. -- -- to be general counsel for what we call the nfl today which he turned down. i got to know ralph when i got elected in 1984. he and i served districts that touch each other. we both live in our districts in texas and so we . . because we were always on the first flight after the last vote to texas at the end of the week and on the last flight before the first vote to washington at the beginning of the week. and once we built up enough frequent flier miles, we used to fight when there was a complimentary upgrade, we never spent taxpayer dollars to fly in
first class, but we would fight over who got seat 4-f. and because ralph sweet talked the special service people at american airlines, he always won. the only time i've ever gotten seat 4-f on american airlines is when ralph was not on the plane. . you heard about the fact that he used to be a democrat and he was until 2003 or 2004, when he switched parties. well, one of the first times that i realized how important ralph hall was when the first esident bush won the -- was, when the first president bush won the election to become president of the united states, they held a club on behalf of the national republic campaign committee so the republicans in the congress, which were in the minority, could have a meeting with the incoming president. we thought that was pretty
special. and there was a star in the crowd -- stir in the crowd and we thought it was the president coming in and it was. the president walked into the room, the eisenhower lounge, is republicans will know on the first floor of the nrcc, but before the president began to speak there was another stir and through the door that i've never seen used, who do you think came into the club than ralph hall? now, what's surprising about that is that at the time ralph hall was a democrat. and ralph hall had endorsed george h. bush for president when he was a democrat and so he got special recognition at that meeting. there have been many great members from texas that served in the house. our creation as a state in 1845
, mr. speaker. some of the ones in my tenure that have -- i've enjoyed working with, people like bill arch aer of houston, -- archer of houston, jay pickle, steve bartlett, sam hall, but none has been more beloved and none has been more effective than ralph hall. of rockwall, texas. i have some other things to say, but you i see that congressman smith is here and congressman culberson. so i'm going to put the rest of mine in the record. does mr. waxman want to speak on ralph? in that case, i'll yield one minute to mr. waxman, the chairman emeritus and current ranking member of the energy and commerce committee. mr. waxman: i thank you. i did want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to ralph hall. particularly for his early years in the house of representatives, when he was a
democrat. he came on the energy and commerce committee early and we sometimes think about democrats or republicans. he became a republican. he had been a conservative democrat. but everybody on both sides of the aisle held him in the highest respect because he was a man of integrity and honesty. when he gain of you his word, you could count on it -- when he gave you his word, you could count on it. ralph and i became friends and i hope that friendship will continue into the future and i nt to express to him and his constituents, his family and his friends my admiration for him as a person and my respect for him as a legislator. i know it's common to say, even though we didn't agree on all things -- it didn't make any difference. he always tried to do what he thought was right and he always as a result earned my and everyone else's respect for it.
so i thank you for yielding to me. mr. barton: i want to yield one minute to mr. smith, the chairman of the science committee right now in the house. mr. smith: i thank the gentleman from texas, my colleague, mr. barton, for yielding me time. i just want to say, today we honor the distinguished service of our friend and colleague, ralph hall of texas. if there were a congressional hall of fame, representative hall would be a first-ballot inductee. as many years of -- his many years of service were highlighted at the end of 2012 when he became the most senior member of congress to ever cast a vote in the house of representatives. his career has spanned 34 years and since he was 19 years old he's made his contributions to our country. as a lieutenant in the navy during world war ii, he served as a pilot and since then has never hesitated to accomplish a mission. has made him a
distinguished member of congress and a very effective chairman of the science, space and technology committee. throughout his time in congress, ralph hall has served this institution with style and humor. ralph hall always said, i'd rather be respected at home than liked in washington. ralph has actually achieved that rare combination of both. we thank him for hiser is to congress, to the great -- for his service to congress, to the great state of texas and to our country. ralph asked me to pass along this comment. quote, i'm especially partial to my friends in the texas delegation who represent their districts so well and whose integrity and hard work have benefited not only our state but also our nation. i thank you for your friendship and countless acts of congress, end quote. i yield back. mr. barton: i'd like to yield one minute to the gentleman from houston, texas, mr. culberson. mr. culberson: thank you, mr. barton. i want to be sure -- i just -- it's such a privilege to be here and honor ralph hall. the proverbs tell us that our good name is worth more than all the gold and silver on earth and that is certainly true of ralph hall.
someone who i immediately bonded with when i came to congress in 2001. ralph was a mentor, has been a teacher, a dear, good friend and i could always, as we all could, count on ralph to do the right things for the right reasons and to be a man of his word, whose first priority throughout his time here was to do right by the state of texas. and as lamar said so ably, ralph always believed it's better to be respected at home, make sure that the folks at home knew what a good job he was doing for them and it's a real privilege for me to be able to serve with that good man and we will surely miss him and what a privilege for me to be here tonight to honor him on this special evening and i yield back. mr. barton: i'd like to yield one minute to the chairman
additional minute? mr. barton: i yield whatever time we have left to the gentleman -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman cannot -- the time cannot -- mr. upton: i just want to say ralph hall is an amazing man. i served with him on t madam speaker, i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute.
mr. rahall: in one minute, the congress of the united states continues to attract some of the minds.st mind and eegest they are are our staff and because of time constraints, i can't go through all of them but i will insert them into my record. started lic record with robert c. byrd. ratored as an elevator op for senators-only and i know about responding to the mail and during the long hours and thankless task to keep this place running for the people they are elected to serve. and they are our staff. the l put their names in
record. suffice it to say, i appreciate their hard work and labor as do the people of west virginia. i have served on two committees, the first one was called the public works and transportation committee and then changed to transportation and infrastructure committee. house d on the house and resources committee and chaired the subcommittee on mines and mining and serving on that house resources committee. i do appreciate, mr. speaker, that all of us in this body are all bridge builders. we have tried and i have tried hard to build bridges between our coal miners in our state between our advantaged and disadvantaged and to provide jobs and protect jobs in our
fields and the air we breathe. we all seek the world of peace. i'm proud of my record in my 38-year record in protecting and black lung benefits and safety for our coal miners. soughtry leff from excessive helped ons, and i building our infrastructure, whether transportation, technology. have created vital white waufer rafting areas and which s it is called the new river george. my grandfathers came to this country and worked hard. they lived the american dream.
i traveled the middle east including with president clinton in the december, 1988 when he became the first u.s. president to set foot. i met with queens, kings and war lords, you name it in this region. and many times were not in sync with our policy. i have long advocated for human rights, dignity and relief. madam speaker, i do leave this body with a great sense of pride and a great sense of accomplishment and what we have been able to do for the people of west virginia. i do appreciate my colleagues to reflect with me on what has been a remarkable personal journey and serve the people. assist ant to the democratic whip through the watergate years
and through the 38 years, it has been both exciting and frustrating, full of fast-paced days and long drawn-out nights. it has been full -- at sometimes tears,, sometimes laughter and has been an experience that i truly appreciated and loved every minute of it. and i want to say in conclusion, i thank god. i thank my family for their support. this is the 10th anniversary and we celebrate knowing there has been a great ride in this institution. my late father stood behind me. my 89-year-old mother now living in my hometown and my brother and sisters have always been
there, my three children have always been behind my career and all three of my grandchildren. that's what's it all about. making this place a better place for our children and grandchildren to live in. my heart felt thanks go out to the people of west virginia. i fought for our courageous coal miners and happy to see that those issues noticed by the coal miners will not be honored in most cases and the coal miners will be able to keep their jobs. i have been deeply to keep their jobs. and stand up for our american heroes and veterans. i thank our working men and women, our seniors, who strengthened this nation with their contributions.
and may god bless our teachers who shape the future of our youth. in concluding this chapter in my life, i offer my thanks to you, each of you in this body, my colleagues, for the experiences for representing the diversity and lifetime of lessons for the trials that you have shared and taught me. i have had the high honor of serving the servants. thank you and god bless this house of representatives. god bless our country and i yield back the balance of my time.